There are mainly three locally developed meat type
goat breeds in South Africa namely the South
African Boer goat, the Savanna and the Kalahari
Red. In order to maintain the characteristics of these breeds and to ensure that their unique traits are not lost through continuous selection and cross-breeding, it has become important to revisit current breed standards and introduce genetic characterization to obtain genetic diversity parameters. Both the Boer goat and Savanna breeds have established breeders associations while a breeders club was founded for the Kalahari Red goats. These associations have set breed standards and the breeds’ morphometric traits have recently been described. The differences in morphometric traits among the breeds are fairly insignificant. Preliminary data on genetic diversity report heterozygosity values above 50% for each of the three breeds and they can be distinguished as separate breeds based on genotyping results with eighteen ISAG recommended microsatellite markers. There is however a need for a genetic characterization of both meat type and indigenous goats to ensure sufficient diversity within the breeds for long term conservation of the unique genetic resource.